• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Skincare through psychodermatology

    30 Apr Skincare through psychodermatology

    We all know that some skin conditions have a psychological dimension. And we arenai??i??t referring to going red when we feel ashamed or breaking out in a sweat from fear. Acne, psoriasis and even certain kinds of warts may be psychological in origin and, according to psychodermatologists, can be treated with hypnosis, relaxation, meditation or psychotherapy.

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    Some 10 years ago, a Harvard Medical School article launched a debate about the effectiveness of what is called psychodermatology. Can psychological therapy cure a skin problem? North American and European psychodermatologists think so, and, for many years, have defended the validity of their theories and therapies based on linking the psyche with the skin. Just to make it clear, we are referring to dermatologists and psychiatrists who use relaxation, meditation and hypnosis, that is, people with medical degrees. A doctorai??i??s diagnosis is essential before any therapy. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    Emojis also reflect phototypes

    27 Apr Emojis also reflect phototypes

    Emojis are the faces that are used to express emotions in online communications. Anyone who uses a mobile phone, instant messaging or social networks will have seen lots of them. In the latest version of its operating system, Apple has introduced new emojis with different skin tones, resulting is some controversy in the WWW.

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    Some forums refer to racism, because, it is claimed, the yellow faces are too yellow. Online, the least little outburst can set the WWW afire. The question is why has Apple classified humans in terms of six skin tones: why not four or 10? Is this a whim of Apple designers? No, in fact. Apple designers have done their homework and the decision is scientifically grounded. The new Apple emojis, which users worldwide are already downloading, are based on the phototype classification created in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick and widely used today. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    A cosmeticai??i??s journey into the skin

    22 Apr A cosmeticai??i??s journey into the skin

    Manufacturers promise flawless skin if we use cosmetics that they claim penetrate the skin and improve cell functioning. And yes, of course they do penetrate ai??i?? but to what depth? The skinai??i??s outermost layer, specially designed to act as a barrier, is formed of nearly impermeable tissue. So, how can cosmetics penetrate the skin?

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    No cosmetic active ingredient has yet been invented that crosses the epidermal barrier and penetrates deep into the skin. In fact, a substance that appears to penetrate the dermis and hypodermis is most likely absorbed by the blood vessels. In that case it would be a drug, not a cosmetic active ingredient, because it affects metabolism. With nicotine patches applied to the skin, for instance, tiny nicotine molecules travel via the skin layers until they reach blood vessels. Does nicotine act on the skin on its way to the blood? The answer is no. Read More

  • Fede Montagud, editor

    A sensor patch to analyse sweat

    17 Apr A sensor patch to analyse sweat

    They say bracelets and watches are taking on a new meaning ai??i?? as ai???wearablesai???, whether they count the steps we take during the day or monitor the quality of our sleep. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (USA) have developed a bandaid-like wearable gadget with a sensor that measures electrolytes, metabolites and proteins in perspiration and which could prove to be of diagnostic value.

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    Using perspiration to diagnose certain diseases is nothing new; cystic fibrosis can be ruled out by this method, for intance, and perspiration has also been used to determine drug intake. But the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati (USA) has gone a step further: Jason Heickenfel and his team have developed a wearable gadget consisting of material that absorbs perspiration, a circuit that calculates perspiration levels of certain ions, e.g., sodium, and a unit for radio frequency transmission of this data to a smartphone. Read More

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